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Dropout rates have been declining overall, but significant disparities exist between students of different races and ethnicities.

Let's Break It Down

Significant dropout rate disparities also exist between students of higher and lower incomes.

The largest disparities in dropout rates within Douglas and Sarpy counties exist between students from higher income families. Lower income students (those who receive a free or reduced lunch, FRL) had a similar dropout rate regardless of their race or ethnicity. Encouragingly, dropout rates for lower income Black and Hispanic students have greatly decreased since 2010.

In Pottawattamie Schools, Hispanic and White students had the highest dropout rates and Black students had the lowest rates in the 2013-2014 school year. Lower income students had a slightly higher dropout rate in the 2013-14 school year.

It’s also important to consider these findings over time to understand how our schools are trending. While there are disparities based on socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity, overall, high school drop-out rates are dropping in local schools.

Douglas & Sarpy County Dropout Rates

Pottawattamie County Dropout Rates

Why Does It Matter?

Research shows that school attendance and engagement is key to a student's success.

Successful completion of high school is important for future employment. More and more jobs are requiring at least a high school diploma, and once youth dropout of school they are less likely to return or earn their GED.

While it’s tracked differently across both schools and school districts, attendance is a key factor for successful completion of high school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, attendance is a key indicator that is correlated with a students’ ability to graduate. A 2013 study found that 44% of students who are chronically absent may be caring for other siblings or family members, working to support their family, struggling with behavioral health or physical health issues, or may not be engaged in their schoolwork. In the most recent school year, schools districts are working with local organizations to provide supports to families to ensure students are attending school.

Many districts see engagement as key to their students’ success and have begun to measure this as an indicator of successfully completing high school. School engagement is generally defined as a student’s feeling of belonging and enjoyment, as well as their active participation in school or extra-curricular activities. Emerging research shows a strong correlation between engagement and successful completion of high school.

How Do We Compare?

Our community has a lower rate of students dropping out than the nation does.

In 2014, the national high school dropout rate was 7%. Broken down by race, the dropout rate was 5% for White students, 7% for Black students, and 11% for Hispanic students. Local dropout rates are:

Douglas & Sarpy County Pottawattamie County
White- 1%   White- 2%
White FRL- 2%
Black- 4% Black- 1%
Black FRL- 3%
Hispanic- 6% Hispanic- 2%
Hispanic FRL- 3%

Regardless of income, all students in the metro had lower dropout rates than the national averages.

Data Source: Nebraska Department of Education, Iowa Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics-Drop Out Rates, National Center for Education Statistics-Every School Day Counts


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